(CNN) -- President-elect Barack Obama formally announced Sunday that retired Army Gen. Eric Shinseki, a decorated veteran and popular figure among critics of the Bush administration, is his pick to be secretary of Veterans Affairs.
Retired Gen. Eric Shinseki Sunday promised to work for veterans "each and every day."
"There is no one more distinguished, more determined, or more qualified to build this VA than the leader I am announcing as our next secretary of Veterans Affairs -- Gen. Eric Shinseki," Obama said at a press conference.
"No one will ever doubt that this former Army chief of staff has the courage to stand up for our troops and our veterans. No one will ever question whether he will fight hard enough to make sure they have the support they need," Obama added.
Obama said the nation must focus on helping troops who have served their country especially during bad economic times.
"We don't just need to better serve veterans of today's wars. We also need to build a 21st century VA that will better serve all who have answered our nation's call," Obama said.
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General Eric K. Shinseki
Retired Chief of Staff
United States Army
General Shinseki assumed duties as the 34th Chief of Staff, United States Army, on 22 June 1999.
General Shinseki graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1965 with a Bachelor of Science Degree. He also holds a Master of Arts Degree in English Literature from Duke University. General Shinseki’s military education includes the Armor Officer Advanced Course, the United States Army Command and General Staff College, and the National War College.
Since his commissioning, General Shinseki has served in a variety of command and staff assignments both in the Continental United States and overseas, to include two combat tours with the 9th and 25th Infantry Divisions in the Republic of Vietnam as an Artillery Forward Observer and as Commander of Troop A, 3rd Squadron, 5th Cavalry. He has served in Hawaii at Schofield Barracks with Headquarters, United States Army Hawaii, and Fort Shafter with Headquarters, United States Army Pacific. He has taught at the United States Military Academy’s Department of English. During duty with the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment at Fort Bliss, Texas, he served as the Regimental Adjutant and as the Executive Officer of its 1st Squadron.
General Shinseki’s ten-plus years of service in Europe included assignments as the Commander, 3rd Squadron, 7th Cavalry (Schweinfurt); the Commander, 2nd Brigade, (Kitzingen); the Assistant Chief of Staff G3 (Operations, Plans and Training) (Wuerzburg); and the Assistant Division Commander for Maneuver (Schweinfurt), all with the 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized). He served as the Assistant Chief of Staff, G3 (Operations, Plans and Training), VII Corps (Stuttgart). General Shinseki served as the Deputy Chief of Staff for Support, Allied Land Forces Southern Europe (Verona, Italy), an element of the Allied Command Europe.
From March 1994 to July 1995, General Shinseki commanded the 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood, Texas. In July 1996, he was promoted to lieutenant general and became the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans, United States Army. In June 1997, General Shinseki was appointed to the rank of general before assuming duties as the Commanding General, United States Army Europe; Commander, Allied Land Forces Central Europe; and Commander, NATO Stabilization Force in Bosnia-Herzegovina. General Shinseki assumed duties as the 28th Vice Chief of Staff, United States Army on 24 November 1998.
General Shinseki has been awarded the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit (with Oak Leaf Clusters), Bronze Star Medal with “V” Device (with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters), Purple Heart (with Oak Leaf Cluster), Meritorious Service Medal (with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters), Air Medal, Army Commendation Medal (with Oak Leaf Cluster), Army Achievement Medal, Parachutist Badge, Ranger Tab, Office of the Secretary of Defense Identification Badge, Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge, and the Army Staff Identification Badge.